Boca Raton Resort and Club

Posted by junketseo in Miami Ghost Tours
Boca Raton Resort and Club - Photo

Many paranormal researchers believe that water is a conduit for the departed. Thus, it would make sense for a waterside resort in Southeastern Florida to be rife with the otherworldly. 

The Boca Raton Resort and Club has a storied history that began almost a century ago. The concept was an icon of luxury, a resort built amidst the newly developed southern United States city known only as Boca Raton. As with many plans of grandiose, little went as expected, staining the resort’s good name with a past that’s riddled with failure and touched by death. 

Though a brilliant seaside escape today, the Boca Raton Resort wasn’t always the picture of affluence. From its earliest years to times of war, Boca Raton Resort and Club has absorbed a rich and emotional history. All that energy embeds itself in the walls, lingering as the living go about their day-to-day. 

The resort’s years have bred at least one infamous ghostly presence. The staff knows her as Esmerelda, a woman who gave her life to the club and became absorbed into its bones, and she’s a pleasant addition to the resort’s quirks.  

It’s a fantastic spot for those who love the water and feel affluent. That is, so long as you don’t mind sharing the building with translucent guests unafraid to make themselves known.


Why is Boca Raton Resort and Club haunted?

Many unknown and unspoken stories unravel within the four walls of the resort’s guest rooms. Learn more about Miami’s most haunted locations on a Miami ghost tour with Miami Haunts!


The Cloister Inn: Boca Raton’s Failed Beginnings


Sometime during the 1920s, ground broke for the new Cloister Inn along Florida’s shimmering coastline. As the construction of the future 100-room hotel continued, Boca Raton still found its footing in the Southeastern United States. Both were the ambitious goals of architect Addison Mizner, a visionary whose greatest enemy was already looming before construction was finished. 

Mizner’s corporation stood behind the construction of the town and the inn, backed by notable names like Vanderbilt and duPont. With a vision of a booming “Dream City of the Western World,” Mizner set into action decades of disappointment as it took a while for the Cloister Inn to materialize suitable returns despite being poised for greatness. 

Unfortunately for Mizner, though the Cloister Inn did receive praise, it wasn’t enough to make the seasonal hotel profitable. Within a year of the inn opening, the Mizner Development Corporation went bankrupt, and as the ‘20s reared on, the financial struggles of the nation proved difficult to overcome. Clarence Geist, an investor of Mizner’s, found it when he tried revitalizing the architect’s failed hotel. 

With Mizner out of the picture, Geist attempted to put a new spin on the hotel that played to his favorite pastime: golf. After acquiring Mizner’s project, Geist sought to add two golf courses to the three existing ones and increase the size of the 100-room inn to nearly 400 luxurious guestrooms.

The Cloister Inn reopened in 1930 as The Boca Raton Club, promising a private and lavished getaway for members and their guests. Within eight years, Geist was dead, and The Boca Raton Club continued to hemorrhage money. In her husband’s memory, Florence continued to keep the Club running until rumblings in the Pacific mobilized a war effort that needed the space and water access that Boca Raton had.


The War Effort and Boca Raton’s Revitalization


When Japan bombed Pearl Harbor in 1941, it kicked the United States war effort into gear. Though no part of World War II ever came to the mainland United States, the U.S. Army commandeered locations like The Boca Raton Club to serve as a temporary base. The Army Air Force moved into the luxurious space, converting the golf courses into training areas and hiding away the antique furniture to prevent damage. 

Unbeknownst to anyone attached to the Club, it would be pivotal to the conflict against Germany. Airmen stationed at Boca Raton were tasked with learning a new radar designed to locate German submarines. Any work revolving around the new airborne radar was classified during the war, and it’s believed it even drew German spies to hole up in Boca Raton housing.

The Army Corps only leased the Club for two years, and by 1944, Geist was no longer overseeing the inn, allowing hotelier J. Myer Schine to move in with a purchase offer. By January 1945, as the war started to wind down, the Club reopened with several signature changes by Schine. Along with receiving its iconic pink paint job, the Club introduced air conditioning and a new dining room setup. 


The Manifestations of Boca Raton Resort


The rest of the resort’s history, leading to its latest iteration, involved several more purchases, the development of new extensions, and a fresh coat of paint. As the hotel evolved and morphed over the years, guests caught glimpses of its history walking its hallways. 

Two suspected apparitions patrol the halls of the ever-changing resort, their ethereal forms reported by guests over the years. One is Addison Mizer, who is completely responsible for the existence of Boca Raton Resort and Club. Is the spectral architect keeping watch over what was meant to be his crowning achievement, hoping to see it in the final iteration he had envisioned? Despite his negative history with the hotel, Mizer’s spirit is never described as being aggressive or malevolent. Perhaps his presence is a memory soaked into the structure’s walls, playing repeatedly until the day the resort is struck down by man or a devastating Floridian storm.

The other ghost is believed to be Esmerelda, a Boca Resort employee suspected of dying in a fire that broke out on the property in the ‘20s. Esmerelda’s story isn’t very well preserved, but she was thought to work directly under Addison, caring for guests. She was a kind soul who always had flowers in hand, ready to give them to new guests. The fire she died in appears to be unrecorded in Boca Resort’s history. Still, Esmerelda is prominent in the resort, spreading a phantom odor of roses whenever her apparition is near. 

Boca Raton Resort and Club’s history is long and winding, and it’s not a surprise if the expansive resort houses other specters and lost souls. Guests, former employees, and anyone vested in the resort’s success can all have a place navigating through rooms, trying to find their place in the world of living. 

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